Superintendent John Antonucci, Middle School Principal Brianne Kelleher and Director of Student Services Meg Camire are pleased to announce the successful start of North Attleborough Middle School’s Unified Basketball team.
The Unified Basketball program began in late February with 25 student-athletes joining the co-ed team. Paraprofessional Thomas Calabrese coaches the athletes. The team played their first game on Thursday, March 9, against Ahern Middle School in Foxboro, with North Attleborough winning 18-8.
The Unified Basketball team is a competitive developmental program. The team will have regularly scheduled practices and compete in regular season games. They will also play in the Jamboree tournament, an event in which the teams all join together to play in shorter games against a variety of opponents.
The Unified Sports program in Massachusetts—run by Special Olympics Massachusetts in partnership with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)—allows students with disabilities the opportunity to play sports alongside their peers in a fun and supportive environment.
“Sports are an integral part of the educational experience in public schools, and it is critical they are accessible to all that wish to participate,” Camire said.
Unified Athletic Teams include a range of students who train with peers and compete against area towns such as Franklin, Foxboro, Attleboro and Norton. These student athletes are expected to represent North Attleborough in a manner comparable with all student-athletes and are committed and celebrated as a team.
The North Attleboro/Plainville Rotary Club donated $1,000, which offset the majority of the cost of middle school basketball uniforms for all athletes.
“The Unified Basketball team is a really exciting new opportunity for our middle school students,” Kelleher said. “We wish the student-athletes the best of luck in the next two games and want to thank the Rotary club for their generous donation.”